'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for May 15th, 2013
THE LATEST IN UNAUTHORIZED GOSSIP AND BUZZ
FROM THE HEART OF CHICAGO'S SHOWTUNE VIDEO BARS,
AND MUSICAL THEATER NEWS FROM CHICAGO TO BROADWAY
Overheard last weekend under the showtune
video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:
And so, that's it for "Smash." The workplace drama and lovelife soap opera set in the world of the contemporary Broadway musical was cancelled last Friday by NBC television after two seasons of lackluster and mostly falling ratings. Changes among writers and actors for the second season apparently did little to convince the powers-that-be that the show would be useful to the network in the long haul (and may have contributed to a perceived drop in quality), and viewer attempts to save the show (and a rise in viewership when the possibility of cancellation became apparent earlier this spring) were insufficient, or too late, or both. Sad, really. The show won a few awards, got some folks excited about musicals, and gave us "Let Me Be Your Star," "Don't Forget Me" and a few other well-loved video clips. It gave us great cameos by famous and not-famous Broadway stars. But mostly, it gave us that sinking feeling of wasted potential. I do hope that folks watch it on DVD for years and years, and that younger folks someday ask us older folks, "What happened?" Because I can't imagine there will be another hour-long drama set on Broadway anytime soon. This was it! Our golden age on network TV. Marilyn, we hardly knew ye. There's only one episode left--the two-hour, Tony Awards-based series finale on Saturday night, May 26, 2013, at 9:00 Eastern, 8:00 Central. Don't forget me, indeed. RIP.
Speaking of cancellation, er, closing, let's take a peek at shows on the boards here that will be leaving us soon. The highly discussed production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein "Oklahoma!" at Lyric Opera Of Chicago will close up (or is it "close down") as scheduled on Sunday, May 19th, and will undoubtedly leave many observers thinking, "did that just happen?" Also leaving us after this Sunday will be "The Pajama Game," being played at The Music Theatre Company in Highland Park. "Aspects Of Love," the rarely seen Andrew Lloyd Webber soaper set in post-war France, will also close this Sunday after a successful run at the No Exit Café, courtesy of Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. Circle Theatre's similar "Death Takes A Holiday" has one more week at Stage 773, the Maury Yeston tuner running through May 26. Also closing May 26th will be the Rodgers and Hart "Pal Joey," the second most quintessential Chicago musical, running at Stage 773 from Porchlight Music Theatre. The Rodgers and Hammerstein "South Pacific" at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire and "Oliver" at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace each have two more weeks, closing June 2nd. Oh, my! Get thee to the appropriate box office or website!
But there are always new shows in the pipeline, never you fear, my peeps! A new show begins performances at Black Ensemble Theater on NortH Clark Street on June 1st. It's "Ain't No Crying The Blues: In The Memory of Howlin Wolf." Jackie Taylor's 2003 bio-musical about the late blues legend Chester Arthur Burnett will once again star Rick Stone (from the movie "Cooley High") and will run through August 11. Ruben Echoles will direct.